Lesson #1 – How to Recondition Car Batteries

Table of Content:
  • Car batteries die suddenly
  • How to find out what type of battery is in your car
  • Wet/Flooded Battery
  • Calcium-Calcium Battery
  • VRLA: GEL
  • VRLA: AGM
  • Deep Cycle
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • What to do if the battery breaks down during the ride
  • How to charge a car battery yourself at home
  • Cleaning corroded car battery terminals
  • Checking the battery charge
  • The battery charge indicators
  • Checking the battery electrolyte level
  • Measuring specific gravity
  • Safety rules for working with car batteries, unsafe behavior can cause a serious eye injury or burns on your skin
  • The final expert kit for working with car batteries
  • If it is hard for you to sort all of this out
  • How to set up a car battery reconditioning business

Car batteries die suddenly

Man autoists got used to the idea that a car battery “dies” slowly. But modern batteries do it suddenly giving its current to the end. And one day it just does not start, especially when you need it most, although the warranty period is still on.

The fact of the matter is that battery manufacturers managed to “set” their products to work that long as mentioned in the warranty sheet and break down the following day. These simple, but not honest ways remain unknown to almost all of ordinary people. After that, an autoist has to buy a new battery, and the manufacturer gets the old one for recycling.

Some motorists try to charge a car battery with a battery charger bought from a store, but such charge does not last long, since all cheap chargers from a store are too primitive.

They cannot charge a battery, they just maintain the charge, which does not affect the real configuration of the battery. In addition, the owners of such devices often miss the important steps which we will talk about in this article.

However, there is a real way to recondition a battery by 90-100 percent of the original factory condition and extend its life.

To do this, first of all, you should identify what type of battery is in your car.

How to find out what type of battery is in your car

To identify what type of battery is in your car, just remove it and read what it says. Pay no attention to the large print on the front. Since basic elements in most of the batteries are the same, the manufacturer put the most recognizable terms on the cover to boost sales. That is why after you take out a battery, read the information written in small print carefully.

Right there you will find the actual type of the battery. 6 types of batteries are manufactured for cars. You can identify the type of your battery by price or description using the list below.

Wet/Flooded Battery

Price: from $50.

This is the most common type of batteries. It became popular due to the lowest price among competitors. The design of the battery is fully sealed that is why it does not require any maintenance. When the liquid in the battery wears off fully, your car will die out right on the road. All is left to hope that it will not happen in a desert without people.

Calcium-Calcium Battery

Price: up to $100.

This battery is made of an alloy of calcium, which has different charges on the ends: one is “positive”, the other one is “negative”. Calcium reduces the amount of fluid loss in the battery, but it takes more time to charge it. Overcharge causes serious structural damage. For example, it can break down during the long and cold Christmas trip.

VRLA: GEL

Price: $100 – 250.

This type of car battery has a safety valve for adjusting the lead acid battery content. The valve helps prevent the fluid loss and thereby increases the lifespan. Besides gel, silicon is used in these batteries. This is a great choice for a car, but it is not good for a starter. Surely you have noticed that it was taking you longer than usual to start the car before it broke down.

VRLA: AGM

Price: $50 – 300.

It also has a pressure relief valve for adjusting the lead acid battery content. The design is made with the use of frosted glass. It keeps very low source resistance for a long time, which makes it ideal for starting a car. If you do not check the liquid level every week, it breaks down quickly.

Deep Cycle

Price: from $200.

Highly durable type of battery. It is more often used in motor boats than in cars (it is also used for the solar and wind energy collection and storage). Discharges very quickly: if you do not use your car for two-three months, it will just not start.

Lithium Ion Battery

Price: from $1000.

It is used in some high-capacity vehicles or in limited editions of cars. It weighs significantly less than other types of batteries, which ensures more efficient fuel consumption. The high price won’t let you mix up this type of battery with any other in the world 🙂

More often, types 2-5 of car batteries are used in cars.

What to do if the battery breaks down during the ride

It’s worst of all, when you’re suddenly stuck on the road. With children. In winter. At night. Modern batteries die out at the most inappropriate moments, so the smartest and provident decision is to always keep a portable power bank in the car that will allow you to run the starter even in the most unpromising situations, or, at least, to have a jump start kit.

Top 3 reasons because of which the battery dies most often:
  1. Frost – risks of getting stuck massively increase in cold weather.
  2. Forgetfulness – car enthusiast very often forget to turn off the lights, bulbs, etc. In this case, the car will not start in the morning.
  3. Open air party – if you listen to music from a car for a long time, especially if you have a subwoofer, it is most likely that you will not be able to start the car after.

We would like to share with you 3 options with their pros and cons in case your battery dies on the go.

SolutionsProsCons
Jump start kit, to jump-start a car using another car
  • Cheap
  • Takes a little space
  • You need another charged car battery for jump-star
  • You will have to deal with another driver
Portable power bank (Read here about the editor’s choice)
  • Portable, takes a little space
  • Also can be used for lighting other 12V appliances
  • Completely autonomous – does not require the participation of other cars
  • A bit more expensive than regular wires for jump-start
Spare battery
  • Expensive
  • If you do not use it, it will probably die as well (find out)
  • Takes a lot of space
  • Can make a car’s interior dirty

If you have not prepared in advance, call an emergency rescue service or your dealer’s road assistance service.

Your main task is to get to a service or a shop where you can replace the battery or to home, where you can charge the battery by yourself, and recondition it by following the instructions.

How to charge a car battery yourself at home

Often, you can easily recondition a dead battery and save money on car shop and about $100-200 on a new battery.

Before proceeding to a battery charging, prepare it and do a simple maintenance procedure (possibly partial reconditioning).

Battery maintenance plan at home:
  1. Clean the corroded car battery terminals and the battery box from dirt.
  2. Check the battery charge level.
  3. Check the battery electrolyte level, fill up if necessary.
  4. Measure specific gravity.

We recommend you read the detailed instructions how to service a battery at home.

Cleaning corroded car battery terminals

Almost any experienced motorist has dealt with terminals corrosion. Terminal is covered with a coating that prevents the proper performance of a battery. As it is growing bigger, it may cause that your car would stop starting.

cleaning-corroded-car-battery-terminals

It is quite easy to fight the corrosion:

  1. Remove the terminal from the electrode (the more coating it has, the harder it will be to do this).
  2. Take a fine sandpaper paper or a metal brush.
  3. Thoroughly clean and polish the place where the electrode contacts the terminal. Pay special attention to the inner surface of the terminal.

Checking the battery charge

The fastest and most precise method of testing a lead acid car battery is to use budget-priced and easy-to-use multimeter.

The sequence of steps when checking a car battery:
  1. Turn the device in the DC voltage control mode.
  2. Set the range above that declared as maximum in a battery, for example 20 V.
  3. Connect the device’s black probe to the negative charge jack.
  4. Connect the red probe to the positive charge jack.
  5. Save the indicators on the multimeter’s display.
  6. Disconnect the electric circuit after the measurement.

checking-a-car-battery

The battery charge indicators

The numbers shown on the device display can help check the battery charge in a percentage ratio at the moment:

battery voltage (V)12.812.612.212.0below 11.8
charge level %100755025complete discharge of the battery

 

To get the accurate indicators, you should check the battery charge with a multimeter at least 5 – 6 hours after it has been removed from a car or a charging device. The ambient temperature is not important for the indicators accuracy.

If you check the charge and capacity of the battery regularly, you can avoid many problems on the road and protect the car’s on-board electronics. Avoid deep battery discharge, as this leads to sulfation of the battery plates – the battery capacity decreases, it starts discharging faster and faster. As a result, your battery needs to be charged more often.

This helps to provide a proper care for the battery and charge it on time, which significantly prolongs its use. Another important factor of the constant monitoring is the confidence that the car will not die out at inappropriate time on the road.

Checking the battery electrolyte level

To check the electrolyte level, first of all, you need to have a look if there are MAX and MIN marks on the box. If the electrolyte level is between these two values, it means that everything is okay.

If there are no marks, you will need a clean glass tube, inner diameter of which isn’t more than 2 inches.

checking-the-battery-electrolyte-level

The sequence of steps when checking the electrolyte level:
  1. Unscrew the battery cover.
  2. Dip the tube inside until it stops against the protective sheet.
  3. Close the outer hole with your finger.
  4. Remove the tube and estimate the electrolyte level.

The optimal value of the electrolyte in a battery must be between 0 and 0.6 inches. If the value exceeds the allowable limit, remove it using a hydrometer syringe or a syringe. If there is not enough of electrolyte, add distilled water. The temperature of the distilled water should be 50-60 °F.

Remember that you should not pour water from a tap, as the battery will discharge.

Measuring specific gravity

You will need a hydrometer to check specific gravity.

measuring-specific-gravity

The sequence of steps when checking the specific gravity:
  1. Wear gloves in order to prevent the acid from electrolyte contact with your skin.
  2. Open all battery banks.
  3. Gather electrolyte from the first bank until the float pops up.
  4. Evaluate the electrolyte density by the scale on the float.
  5. Check the electrolyte density in banks each after each.
  6. Close all banks.
State of chargeRelative density
Fully charged (100%)1.28
Half charged (50%)1.20
Discharged (0%)1.12

If the electrolyte density is lower, it needs to be charged. If the density is higher, pour distilled water into the bank. This procedure need to be carried out once a year.

Get access to the entire battery reconditioning program

Safety rules for working with car batteries, unsafe behavior can cause a serious eye injury or burns on your skin

Observe precautions when working with batteries.

The premise where you work with cars batteries should be ventilated properly. It is forbidden to eat, store food, and smoke in the premise.

During charging a battery, do not smoke or use an open flame next to it (even sparks), because during the charging process, electrolyte from the battery gives up the detonating gas, which can provoke an explosion.

During the electrolyte preparation and filling, and installing a battery, it is necessary to work in rubber gloves and boots, apron and goggles. Follow the strict rule: pour acid into water! Not vice versa, the acid poured in water instantly heats the solution and turns it into the lava that burns everything.

Don’t mix acid with water like this

When preparing the electrolyte for alkaline batteries, remember that alkali dissolving produces heat energy, so you need to mix the solution gently. Don’t touch pieces of alkali with bare hands. It is not recommended to use glass dish for alkali dissolving, as it may break, and the worker can get hurt.

When preparing the electrolyte for acid batteries strictly observe the following rules: pour acid into water, but not vice versa. Use only glass or lead dish when preparing and filling the electrolyte. It is better to use special siphons to decant acid or prepared electrolyte.

Even the weak concentration of sulfuric acid destroys all organic materials and causes severe burns.

See also: What to do if car acid contacts your skin or eyes.

The final expert kit for working with car batteries

  1. The step-by-step instructions
  2. Portable power bank.
  3. Jump start kit, to jump-start a car using another car.
  4. Multimeter to check a battery charge.
  5. Sandpaper or metal brush to clean the terminals.
  6. Distilled water if you have the electrolyte level lowered.
  7. Hydrometer to check the electrolyte density.
  8. Gloves.
  9. Goggles.

If it is hard for you to sort all of this out

Actually it just seems difficult. If you get the instructions and observe the safety precautions, this inexplicable process can become for you a great business on charging batteries (even very profitable one, from $1000 per item).

And if you still think that this is not for you, at least, you should choose the battery that will work longer from proven producers.

How to set up a car battery reconditioning business

You can make an excellent business on car batteries reconditioning. In this context, if you live in a cold climate, the merciless frosts are a true gift of fate.

In such weather conditions, batteries are not able to withstand loads and collapse much earlier than anticipated.

But even in comfortable weather conditions a battery reconditioning is a great business. Turn attention to taxi stations, public transport fleets, golf clubs, truckers’ parking lots, warehouses, and other similar places. These are pots of gold for businessmen reconditioning batteries.

Spent batteries are just trash for motorists, and they want to get rid of it. That is why in most cases, you can freely collect unnecessary containers, recondition them by 90-100 percent and sell cheaper than factory-supplied ones.

That is why, if you know how to fully recondition a battery, making money is as easy as pie. You will not have any costs, because you get all raw materials for free. Just start doing it.

Watch more about this business in the video:How to make money on reconditioning almost any batteries

And remember: Ecology will “thank you” for that. Good luck!

What you can do right now:

  • Bookmark this page in your social networks, so you can easily get back to it.
  • Read our detailed instructions on reconditioning almost any batteries.
  • Create your own expert kit to service car batteries.
  • At least, take the power bank for a car with you, so you won’t get stuck on the road.

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